Whether your plans are far-flung or close to home, hiking long or short distances, under the summer sun or in a tropical rain forest—lightweight shorts with great pocket space are appreciated by all travelers.


On my pre-summer adventures, I’ve been testing out the Mountain Hardwear Women’s Trail Sender Short. It’s the brand’s lightest trail short, combining a modern high-rise design with ripstop fabric. I can pack it down to a size smaller than a San Francisco Mission-style burrito and tuck it in a corner of my pack for those just-in-case moments when I realize I’ve overdressed for the weather, or just as that extra short that I would have ditched if it weighed more or took up more room.


Made from ultralight ripstop fabric, the short has an elastic waistband with an adjustable internal drawcord to stay in place. The fabric is rated UPF 50, filtering out harsh UV rays when you’re out on the trail.


Two side-snap hand pockets with reverse-entry pocket flaps are roomy enough for me to store my iPhone 13 Pro Max with ease. The only challenge with keeping your heavy phone in the pocket of really lightweight shorts is that you really notice that phone weight when you walk. Despite that, I never felt that the phone was dragging the waistband down or in my way at all while hiking. An additional secure zip pocket is smaller, however has enough space to fit keys, cash, or cards.


One of the benefits of the light ripstop fabric aside from its comfort, weight, durability, and breathability is that it dries quickly. These could easily be the only shorts on your trip if you wash them at the end of the day and air dry overnight.


The Trail Sender Short comes in black, glacial (light gray), stone green, and dark Caspian, and lists for $51.75 (on sale!) on the Mountain Hardwear site.

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